I was thinking today about a conversation I had recently and about how I should have asked the other person more questions or tried to lead them to share more about themself and how things were going. For some reason, it occurred to me how small my life has become right now.
The shrinkage of a life is so incremental, you don't even notice it happening until the walls are really close in. I don't think the walls are cement or permanent - maybe they are like walls in theatre - braced, but pretty easy to knock down if you have the drive and the tools. I don't even think that a shrinking life is a BAD thing - it is just somewhat surprising. I can't tell if it is really so small or if it was so big before that anything else seems a little confined.
When I started working as an interpreter, I worked in one school for a year and then the next for two years. After that, I was a "floater" for the school district - I was basically a full-time sub. I interpreted K-12, interpreted staff meetings, parent meetings, special events, sports, etc. When I started doing that, I was petrified. I had originally thought I was taken out of schools because I wasn't good enough. Later, I learned that it was a huge and important opportunity. I worked as a floater for five years before moving on to "freelancing". I really never worked full time as a freelancer in the traditional sense - I always had about 20 hours a week that I filled with post-secondary ed. I had my shows, I taught. I had my feet in a lot of different worlds. I did that for about 8 years or so. Then I got sick and started looking for a "real job" with benefits and steady hours.
I think having that kind of freedom - working when you want, where you want, out in the elements for at least a part of every day, meeting different people almost daily- that makes for a really open and seemingly big life. Then I worked as an assistant at the local school for the Deaf, then I went back to K-12 for 8 months. After that, I transitioned to the job I thought I had always wanted - an interpreter coordinator for a University. I worked 15-20 hours as an interpreter and then coordinated other stuff. I still did my shows and taught. But the world was getting smaller - one campus, one office, the same colleagues daily (positive and negatives there). Then I moved to the job I am currently in. In April, it will have been six years. It is hard to even remember anything else, in some ways.
Now, I go to the same place around the same time and work with the same people and do the same stuff over and over and over. Sometimes it is good. I have found strengths and skills I would never have known I had. But sometimes, I miss being able to drive off from a place and decide if I'm going to come back. Sometimes, I miss just having some crazy story to tell about my day or something I did. Nobody really wants to hear a story about doing payroll.
Anyway, that's just what I was thinking about as I was driving home from work today.